Monday, August 2, 2010

Our Family Kitchen has a new home!

We've moved Our Family Kitchen to a new URL and new look! Visit us at Our Family Kitchen's new home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Red-Wine-Braised Oxtails

I was in quite a mood a couple weeks ago in the meat department. Sometimes I see strange cuts of meat and I get too excited. Next thing I know, I am putting away turkey legs and oxtails!
I finally decided to commit my entire Saturday afternoon and make oxtails for our date night. Oxtails are Aaron's favorite so I had to find a really good recipe! This one was nice and simple, and I already had most of the ingredients! This recipe takes about 4 hours, but 3.5 of those hours is just you sitting on the couch while the oxtails cook themselves in the oven! It turned out very tender and delicious, so it is very worth it!

1 bottle of dry red wine
6 large oxtail pieces (about 3 pounds total)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves
2 medium carrots
1/2 medium onion
2 celery ribs
6 thyme sprigs
3 bay leafs
3 cups beef broth
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a 4 to 6 quart heavy saucepan boil wine until reduced by about half. Trim oxtails and pat dry. Season oxtails with salt and pepper. In a deep heavy ovenproof kettle just large enough to hold oxtails in one layer heat 1 tbsp butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and brown oxtails on all sides. Transfer to bowl. Coarsely chop garlic, carrots, onion, and celery. Add vegetables to kettle and cook in 1 tbsp butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened.

Arrange oxtails over vegetables and add reduced wine, herbs, and enough broth to just cover oxtails. Bring liquid to a boil and braise oxtails, covered, in middle of oven 3 to 3.5 hours, or until meat is very tender but not falling off the bone. Transfer oxtails with a slotted spoon to a bowl and keep warm. Pour braising liquid through a fine sieve into a large saucepan and discard solids. Boil liquid until thick, shiny, and reduced to about 1 3/4 cups and whisk in remaining tablespoon butter.

By the way, this sauce makes for an excellent dip for the Bacon Bread. I'm just sayin'.

Heather's Chocolate Caramel Matzo

My friend Heather brought these deliciously addicting dessert to the office when she had just started working at our museum...right away I knew I would be friends with her!

4 to 6 sheets matzo or 40 saltine crackers or crackers of your choice
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into a few large pieces
1 cup packed light brown sugar
A big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-or bitter chocolate chips
Extra sea salt for sprinkling
1 cup toasted chopped almonds, pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie/baking sheet completely with foil, then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit. (I thought about skipping the parchment paper, but I'm so glad I didn't. If you don't, the toffee mixture you pour over the crackers would stick to the foil and that would be no good! So yes, definitely use parchment paper.)

Line the baking sheet with matzo or crackers, covering all parts. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pout it over the matzo or crackers. You'll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.

Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 8-15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn. You can reduce the heat if you see this happening. I made two pans of this, and the pan on the bottom got burned...but actually tasting the two I liked the burned taste! That's just me...but do make sure it doesn't burn to the point of BLACK caramel. I had bits of that too and that is just a waste of good butter and sugar.

Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes, and then spread them evenly across the caramel. An offset spatula works great here. If you're using them, sprinkle the chocolate with toasted chopped nuts. Wait 10 minutes for it to cool completely or stick it in the fridge. Sprinkle sea salt over them.


Jennifer's Bacon Cheddar Bread with Parmesan Crust

My friend Jennifer made this bread at last year's Pork-Off competition, and after I ate it, I begged her for the recipe. One year later, I finally got around to making it! She gave me the recipe handwritten on the most adorable recipe card, and now I am going to digitize it for her.


3 oz Parmesan, grated on large holes of box grater
5 slices of bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, minced
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 oz Gruyere, extra-sharp cheddar, or mild Asiago cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 5 x 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray then sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly in bottom of pan.

Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp, 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel and pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from skillet. Add onion to skillet and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Set aside.

In large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Using rubber spatula, mix in cheese cubes, breaking up clumps until cheese is coated with flour. Add bacon and onion, and stir.

In a medium bowl whisk together milk, egg, and sour cream. Using rubber spatula, gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan: level surface. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan evenly over surface.

Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. You can broil on high for 3-4 minutes if you want the top to be extra crispy! Cool in pan 5 minutes on wire rack. Invert loaf from pan and continue to cool until warm, about 45 minutes.

Nicole's Manchego, Onion, and Bacon Appetizer

An easier than easy recipe for a party that Nicole taught me.


1 block of Manchego cheese
5 slices of bacon (preferably thick, but thin will do too), cut into 1 inch pieces (they'll shrink after they cook
half of a medium sized red onion

Fry the bacon on the stove until crisp. Take out and drain on paper towel. Throw away all the fat other than two tbsp.

Cut onion into slices big enough to wrap around half inch cheese cubes. Caramel in the bacon fat with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Cut the cheese into half inch pieces.

Wrap the cheese in the caramelized onions and top with a piece of bacon. Secure with toothpick.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Salt Crusted Baked Fish

The fish says: "Hello! I am sleeping! In my salty sleeping bag!

Mmmm the garlic inside was yummy...

Although this fish dish uses 1.5 lb of kosher salt, the actual fish is not salty at all! Which means daddy can eat it guilt free! Mom and dad, you can do a small miniature version of this fish when you get a toaster oven, or you can go to wooyi's house and make a feast out of this with some salad!

2 pounds of coarse or kosher salt
1 cup water
2 pound whole red snapper or whatever fish you prefer.
1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Garlic, basil, bay leaf, or whatever fresh you have handy

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
In a bowl stir together salt and water until combined well. On a large baking sheet spread half of the salt mixture in a rectangle just larger than the red snapper and set fish on top. Halve lemon crosswise and cut 3 slices from 1 half, reserving remaining half. Insert slices of lemon and herbs into cavity of fish. Pat remaining sale mixture over fish to cover completely and bake in the middle of oven for 20-25 minutes.
Rap all around edge of salt crust with the back of a large spoon to loosen and lift top off. De-bone, lift the meat and skin from the fish and put onto platter. Squeeze juice from reserved lemon half over fish and drizzle with oil.

Stir fry mushrooms and tomatos with olive oil (or butter if you're feeling wild!), garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Surround the fish with this colorful mixture!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mmmm Carrot Muffin Yeah!

Makes 8 muffins:

3/4 cup skim milk
2 egg whites
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp sugar (or substitute 6 packs of splenda if you're trying to avoid sugar)
1 teaspoon baking flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional: golden raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the milk, egg whites, and oil until smooth.

Stir in apple and carrot. Combine the dry ingredients.

Stir into milk texture just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Top with raisins.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Nicole's Pizza!

My friend Nicole is very talented at creating healthy but yummy recipes. I tried one of them out today, and I encourage you to do the same!

Veggie-filled "Pizza"

Red pepper sauce:
3 red peppers
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
1 c chicken stock
salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups finely-shredded cabbage
2 tbs whole grain flour (whatever you've got)
1/2 cup chopped onion or shallot
salt and pepper to taste
2 egg whites

To make sauce: Lightly oil whole peppers, then broil them until the skin is blackened in most places. Remove from oven and put in plastic bag - allow to sweat for about 45 minutes. Once cooled, remove skin (this should be easy), then take out seeds and chop roughly. Heat olive oil in a high-sided skillet. Add garlic, onion, salt'n'pepper and cook for 5 minutes, then add red pepper and continue to cook another 5 minutes or so (until onions are softened). Puree in food processor, then return to pan and add chicken stock. Cook down to desired thickness (add more stock if necessary).

To make crust: combine cabbage and onion in a bowl - make sure they're reasonably dry. Add flour, salt and pepper and combine. Then add egg. Pour olive oil in skillet and heat, then press crust mixture into pan. Saute for 6-8 minutes each side, until a nice golden brown.

Spread crust with red pepper sauce and desired toppings (suggestions: turkey italian sausage or meatballs, roasted garlic, sauteed mushrooms, spinach), then sprinkle with grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Cut into slices. Voila!

Monday, April 19, 2010


This past Saturday, my friend Tobin had his annual cooking competition/birthday party. Last year the theme was pork, and I lost by a small margin. This year the theme was chicken, and I was determined to win! I started preparing the dishes on Thursday night, and spent all day Saturday cooking. I thought I would share my winning dishes with you.

Here I am with the trophy:

Drunken Chicken over Hainanese Rice:

(Drunken Chicken recipe courtesy of RasaMalaysia)

3 lbs chicken, dark meat preferably
2 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
0.5 oz. ginger, thinly sliced
4 – 6 green onion, white parts only, sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 C Shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp white sugar

Ice cubes and water


Mix the salt with the two peppers. Rub the chicken all over with the salt and pepper and let it sit for an hour.

Poaching Method:

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot, add the green onion bottoms and ginger. Add the chicken, make sure there is enough water to cover the chicken, and return to a boil. Lower the heat to a bare simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. If you’re using a whole chicken, when the water is simmering for 10 minutes, lift the chicken out of the water and make sure the stock in the cavity empties back into the pot. Do that 3 times for a whole chicken. For chicken pieces or leg quarters, gently stir the pot once or redistribute the leg quarters so they cook evenly. After 10 minutes, cover, turn off the heat, and allow the chicken to poach undisturbed until the water cools almost to room temperature.

Steaming Method:

Bring water to a boil in the steamer. Place the chicken in an even layer, scatter the green onion and ginger all over and steam over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes or until the internal temperature near the bone reaches 165 – 170 degrees F. If the chicken pieces are larger, they will take longer to steam. If any of the pieces are touching make sure to redistribute them in the middle of cooking so they cook evenly.

Mix the ice cubes and water and shock the chicken in ice cold water for 2 minutes. If you poached the chicken, shock it after the chicken has cooled to room temperature. If you steamed the chicken, shock it immediately after steaming.

After cooking, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, or score the chicken meat with a knife. Put the chicken pieces into a large container. Mix 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the chicken stock (the liquid you poached the chicken in or the liquid that comes out of the chicken after steaming) with the sugar and rice wine. Taste the marinade and add salt if needed. Pour it over the chicken pieces and let this sit in the fridge at least overnight before serving. Serve cold.

Hainanese Rice recipe courtesy of Eugenia!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced

2 cups of short grain Japanese rice
3 cups organic chicken stock (I use Pacific Brand from Whole Foods)
1/2 of a pork boullion cube

In a medium stock pot over medium heat, melt butter with vegetable oil. Add the garlic and ginger, stir until fragrant but not burnt. Add the rice to the mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until some of the rice is a little brown and toasted.

Add 3 cups of warm chicken stock to the pot and the half of pork boullion cube. Cover tightly and turn the heat down to a bare simmer. Cook undisturbed (don't peek!) for 25 minutes.

Fluff it up with a fork and serve.

Fried Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks with Honey Peach Glaze:

My second recipe was an altered version of Alton Brown's fried chicken recipe. I came up with the honey peach glaze recipe on my own, with a little inspiration from an item on the Rockwood Room Menu:

  • One family pack of drumsticks (12-14 drumsticks)
  • Two packs of bacon
  • toothpicks
  • 1/2 gallon of low fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable shortening, for frying


Wrap each drumstick with bacon and pin in place with toothpicks. Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come halfway up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. Leave chicken be for ten minutes then dredge in flour again. This makes them extra crispy!

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.

Honey Peach Glaze:

Peach glaze can be served on the side or spooned directly over the chicken! Peach glaze modified from Food Network recipe.


  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • Two fresh and ripe peaches, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a small saucepan, saute onions in oil until softened. Add peaches, honey, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and ground pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until peaches break down and glaze thickens, about 20-30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ratatouille for Lunch

Anna and Lilah came by yesterday for lunch. I can only have one friend who is a vegetarian and doesn't drink, and Anna has taken up both slots! If she wasn't so nice and sweet I would have sneaked some bacon grease into the veggies but I made an entirely vegetarian lunch that was actually really delicious and contained no fake products (I absolutely hate fake meat or fake whatever foods).
Ratatouille (Adapted from Nandita's recipe. Thanks, Nandy!)
For the sauce:
  • ~4 tomatoes (peeled, w/o seeds, chopped - you can use seeded chopped CANNED tomatoes in a pinch)
  • ~3-4 garlic cloves (minced or sliced)
  • a nice handful of Italian parsley (chopped)
  • ~2 twiggys of fresh thyme, chopped
  • ~8-9 fresh basil leaves (rough cut -- i.e. not too small)
  • at least 1/4 c olive oil (you can use more if you want. Use a good quality olive oil like Brianna - something you'd eat with your bread)
For the dish:
  • 2 eggplants (about 2 lbs), sliced into 1/2 inch slices. Japanese eggplant work well but regular eggplants are fine also.
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 4-6 slices
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 4-6 slices
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F.
First you'll need to prep the egg plant: sprinkle salt over both side of the eggplant slices and lay them flat on top of two layers of paper towel, or a large colander if you have one. Let the eggplant sit for at least half hour to 45 minutes, until moisture comes out of the eggplant slices. Rinse the eggplant slices and squeeze dry between two paper towels. Set aside.
Then you'll make the sauce: In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil (1/4 cup) until warm. Add the garlic, sautee until cooked, then add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, basil, simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile: sautee the bell peppers in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Set aside. sautee the onion slices until translucent and soft, salt to taste, set aside. Sautee the eggplant slices in 3 tablespoons of olive oil (add more if needed) - you may need to do this in batches. The eggplant slices are done when they are soft and golden brown. Set aside.
To assemble: layer some onions on the bottom of the dish. Then put a layer of the bell peppers, then eggplant slices, and some of the tomatoe sauce. Sprinkle a little salt and the herb mixture. Repeat until you fill the casserole dish. Bake for about 45 minutes until bubbly.
Quinoa Pilaf
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • half an onion, finely diced
  • a cup of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a colander through several changes of water
  • 1 3/4 cup hot water or vegetable broth
Place the oil in a medium deep skillet or sauce pan and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the onion and carrots and sautee untl soften, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for at least 5-6 minutes (important - this toasts the quinoa and gives it a good flavor).
Then add the liquid and mushroom slices all at once. Cover and cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. If all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is not tender, you can add a little more (1/4 cup) of water and continue to cook until tender.
White bean salad
  • 3 cups cooked or canned white beans (I used a mixture of canned cannelini beans and black eyed peas. I also rinsed them before using.)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoran, chopped
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 6 Tablepoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (can also use sherry vinegar or balsamic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
Cook beans with half the thyme for 5 minutes until heated through. Turn off the heat. Add the scallions and red peppers, and cool. In a bowl, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, and mustard until emulsified. Add salt, pepper, or additional oil or vinegar to taste. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and marinate for an hour or up to 24 hours.
I marinated it overnight and served it on top of a bed of arugula that was tossed with a little oil and vinegar.